TitleA novel mechatronic system for evaluating elbow muscular spasticity relying on Tonic Stretch Reflex Threshold estimation
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2020
Conference Name2020 42nd Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine Biology Society (EMBC)
AuthorsAverta, G, Abbinante, M, Orsini, P, Felici, F, Lippi, P, Bicchi, A, Catalano, MG, Bianchi, M
PublisherIEEE Explorer

Muscular spasticity represents one of the most common motor disorder associated to lesions of the Central Nervous System, such as Stroke, and affects joint mobility up to the complete prevention of skeletal muscle voluntary control. Its clinical evaluation is hence of fundamental relevance for an effective rehabilitation of the affected subjects. Standard assessment protocols are usually manually performed by humans, and hence their reliability strongly depends on the capabilities of the clinical operator performing the procedures. To overcome this limitation, one solution is the usage of mechatronic devices based on the estimation of the Tonic Stretch Reflex Threshold, which allows for a quite reliable and operator-independent evaluation. In this work, we present the design and characterization of a novel mechatronic device that targets the estimation of the Tonic Stretch Reflex Threshold at the elbow level, and, at the same time, it can potentially act as a rehabilitative system. Our device can deliver controllable torque/velocity stimulation and record functional parameters of the musculo-skeletal system (joint position, torque, and multi-channel ElectroMyoGraphyc patterns), with the ultimate goals of: i) providing significant information for the diagnosis and the classification of muscular spasticity, ii) enhancing the recovery evaluation of patients undergoing through therapeutic rehabilitation procedures and iii) enabling a future active usage of this device also as therapeutic tool.Clinical relevance- The contribution presented in this work proposes a technological advancement for a device-based evaluation of motion impairment related to spasticity, with a major potential impact on both the clinical appraisal and the rehabilitation procedures.

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